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Boeing Dreamliner Ready for Debut

ANA DreamlinerBoeing is making the long-awaited debut of the 787 Dreamliner, which is three years overdue and billions of dollars over budget. The company is now due to finally deliver the first of the aircraft to All Nippon Airways in Tokyo next month. This plane will also be the first of the 787 Dreamliner series to carry commercial customers. This follows Boeing being hit by delays in the launch of the aircraft; however, the series is slated to revolutionise air travel. So now we just have to see for ourselves if it was worth the wait.

The 787 Dreamliner is the first commercial plane to be made mainly of super durable plastic, or carbon composites. This makes the plane lighter, which Boeing says means that it can use 20% less fuel than conventional aircraft. The plane is due to make be a more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly aircraft for carriers to operate. Two versions of the 787 Dreamliner are being developed. The 787-8 will be able to carry 210 to 250 passengers, depending on the seat configuration. The 787-9 will carry 250 to 290 passengers and is designed to be used on longer, international routes. The interior includes a variety of upgrades – instead of traditional window shades, a button on the window will allow passengers to make their surroundings gradually darker.

Boeing has over 800 orders for the 787 Dreamliner, which is priced at around $200 million per plane. All Nippon Airways has 55 Dreamliners on order. Senior vice president Mitsuo Morimoto says the carrier will develop new routes around the capabilities of the Dreamliner. They plan to use it to expand their business – especially on an international level. The company also intends to increase their revenue from international services significantly, for which the 787 Dreamliner will play a key role.

Despite the revolutionary promise Boeing has made for the Dreamliner series, the company has had a tough time manufacturing the aircraft. It outsourced a lot of its construction to contractors around the world, which led to cost overruns and delays. Boeing vice president and general manager of the 787 programme Scott Fancher says they are rolling out the first delivery plane. This is an amazing time for the people who have worked on the programme for five to seven years, including those at Boeing and partners across the globe.

Boeing also has some other issues going on in the company. The future of a new assembly plant is in doubt in South Carolina. The machinist union for the firm has alleged that the company is putting the plant in South Carolina instead of Washington state in order to take advantage of weaker labour laws. The National Labor Relations Board has threatened to close the plant; however, Boeing says it will need to increase production of the Dreamliner to ten a month by the end of 2013 in order to meet demand.

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